Hotel Nacional de Cuba
Travel Blogs from Havana
Lecture topic: Religion in Cuba--our final lecture in Cuba was given by an agnostic, Marisa Corales, whose daughter became a nun for a time. The paradox was so typically Cuban. You must visit to understand that statement! Cuba is so ethnically and spiritually diverse! Cuba may be divided by color and class, but NOT by religion! Just like the US, …
The topic this morning was Cuba-US Relations from the viewpoint of Professor Carlos Alzugaray who served as Cuban ambassador to many African nations as well as the European Union. How do Cubans feel about us, one of their nearest neighbors? Truthfully, the feelings are hyperbolic: either the US is imperialistic and want to "take over the world" or …
Before we set out for Havana we stopped at the Benny More School for music, dance and the visual arts. Yet again, we were warmly welcomed. The facilities were not great but the talent of these children ranging from ages 8-14 was a resounding Wow! We were entertained by a duet of lyrical dancers then a small orchestra. We were also delighted by the …
As soon as you touch down, you know you have arrived in Cuba. Driving into Havana is like a Cuban introduction through all the iconic images that we know and recognise with this country.. driving in an old 50s Chevy we pass image upon image of Che Guevara, men smoking cigars on the roadsides and hot air filled with traditional Cuban music playing …
To begin our final day in Cuba, we had a lecture from another one of the expert professors from the nearby University of Havana. This time, the topic was Cuban-US relations. Of course, this is a complicated subject and many related events and concepts have come up over the course of the week, but this was the perfect time in our visit to have an …
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.....wear your flexibility hat and you'll love it!!!!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
A fabulous iconic hotel.. I stayed in a lovely large room overlooking the main entrance, it was a little noisy but then I think it is just a noisy hotel.
Breakfast. the only meal we had was ok, though the Cuban coffee station was fab... We also did the hotel tour which was very interesting and gives you the history of the hotel. All in all a great stay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
TravelPod Member ReviewsHotel Nacional de Cuba Havana
Historical Traveler Reviews Hotel Nacional de Cuba Havana
Best hotel ever
without a doubt the hotel nacional is the best hotel i have ever stayed in ... the service is first rate ... the staff attentive and friendly but not overpowering ... the food could be better (but i make allowances with it being cuba!), that said the breakfast buffet is fantastic ... sitting out in the garden bar at sunset with a rum cooler watching the sea over colonial style gardens with the band gently playing is so decadent ... it reminds me of the setting of agatha christie novels in the carribean and with the dynamic and exciting city of havana on the doorstep you couldnt ask for more ... worth every last penny ...
After a 10 night stay in Guardalavaca it was some what of a culture shock arriving in Havana. Upon arrival at the Nacional it is hard not to be impressed by the size of the hotel which is so well lit during the evenings. The lobby is also very impressive but quite often is full of too many people. After leaving the lobby I was quite disappointed.
The hallways resembled school corridors and the rooms were far from what you expect of a 5* hotel. During my stay at the Nacional I found almost every member of staff to be quite unhelpful. The pool area needs a face lift as it appears very dated. All in all the hotal is average.
If I return to Havana I will be staying at the Park Central Hotel. I also stayed here for a few nights and the hotel was nothing short of excellent.
This is the flagship hotel of Cuba. The Nacional is very old, but recently rebuilt, and now a great treasure and a pleasure to visit and to live in. Pay the extra for a room on the executive floor, the sixth floor. This avoids the crowds in the main lobby, as you check in on 6. You also eat breakfast there, and all your needs are taken care of by a staff assigned to the sixth floor. When I drove up to the door I simply told the valet to park the car and send the bags to the sixth floor, and walked straight in and onto the lift. On our floor the check-in desk had our reservation, wished me a happy birthday, and gave us an electronic key card. Rooms are large and well appointed. All amenities are in place, and the air conditioning is perfect. Safe deposit boxes are provided, as are multi-channel TVs. This is a great hotel with good service and helpful staff. The place reeks of history which has been well preserved and displayed. The cigar cave under the hotel lobby features a roller who worked for Partagas, as well as a superb selection of Havana's finest cigars. We ate dinner at an outdoor bar and grill names La Barraca, on the back lawn of the hotel. The BBQ'd and roasted food was great. This time we had a shaved coconut syrup with our cheese for dessert. This restaurant is named after the barracks which sat on this spot in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. During my recent stay there was a music festival at the Nacional. I went to smoke cigars with the band in the basement cigar cave. They served free mojitas and cigars rolled by a woman who worked for Partagas for 30 years, but now works for the Nacional Hotel. The concert had two separate artists, Compay Segundo and Polo Montanez. Segundo is famous in North America and Europe for his appearance in the movie Buena Vista Social Club. The concert cost $40 to get a metal outdoor seat. It was on the hotel lawn. We sat at the hotel terrace in the smoking area on cushioned outdoor sofas. We couldn't see the stage very clearly but we were definitho spent the money. The sound was perfect for us, not too loud to talk. We also got to see a group of dancers who were enjoying the free music behind the rope line. The hotel maintains a good website which offers specials. Check out their rooms and offers, as well as their history pages. This is the finest and most historic hotel in Cuba, and worth at least a one night visit in a good room or suite. SALON PARISIEN, Hotel Nacional de Cuba. If you cannot make it to the Tropicana, or cannot afford the exorbitant tickets, try the Salon Parisien in the Nacional Hotel in downtown Havana. I think this is a better show than the Tropicana's: the dancing and music is better and more intense, and the costumers are brighter and more attractive. The dancers are amongst the best stage dancers I have seen anywhere. Eat dinner first, then get in line to get a good table for the show. It is spectacular. All the costumes were brightly colored and very skimpy. Some dances were very sensual but all were truly something to see. ... ($170-$220 double with breakfast)
The hotel has a great ambience and evokes an era when the hotel represented decadence and was awash with international playboys. Today it is largely full of tourists and conference delegates, but it was a beautiful moment to be sitting out on the beautiful terrace overlooking the Atlantic, reading Graham Green's, Our Man in Havana, and come to a page where he described exactly the same setting in the 1950's.I am slightly bewildered when people complain that Havana in many places is impoversihed and decaying. Was this a revelation to you on your arrival or were you expecting Madrid in the Caribbean? If that bothers you, then it is probably best avoided. It is a case of adapting to your environement and changing your expectations of what you want from a city. What I would recommend is that you hang out with the Cubans and get to know one or two of the locals. Your hassles of begging, feeling lost or bewildered in this sprawling city come to an end. I met a guy called Carlos on my first day, then his family and his friends. He toured me round the city, spoke about how life was for him, got me into an All-Star baseball game where I got to see Castro and then we hit the best bars and clubs (amazing reggae, dancehall and salsa) that only the locals would know about. Not bad for my first day.A few days with Carlos and he was guide, bodyguard, host and drinking buddy. Cynically you may say that he was only doing it for the money, though he wouldn't accept any payment, all I had to do was buy the drinks and send him a Bob Marley tape and a pair of Levis on my return. A final word about the Nacional. The food is pretty ghastly, but if you go to the local markets and see what Cubans have to live on, I wouldn't be too vocal with them about the standards of hotel food.
I found Cuba impossible to rate in standard holiday terms. I stayed at the Nacional and, frankly, if you are looking for servile, attentive "have a nice day" service or "de luxe" Caesar`s Palace style surroundings you will be disappointed. It is ,however, a friendly, laid back establishment and is the only hotel I have ever lived in where the staff seem better educated than the guests. Mornings are best:the breakfasts are excellent and the grounds are particularly beautiful and atmospheric at 7,00 a.m. Havana is like no other city I have ever visited. No Starbucks or McDonalds and the locals (at least the older ones)are proud of it! I did not get the impression I was amongst a cowed, oppressed people, yet the American tourists I met saw Castro`s secret police everywhere. Most of these were Christian fudamentalists and by European standards very right wing. One told me that a few mornings earlier "crowds of Cuban refugees" had been gathering on the Malecon after false rumours had been spread that boats would arrive to take them to Miami. I had jogged along the Malecon early on the morning in question and had seen only sleepy fishermen and strolling couples. Maybe Fidel had already had them shot! There is no doubting the lack of material wealth, however, and I was regularly stopped by mostly young men and women asking for "one dollar". It could become irritating but they were always polite. There were also ,more worryingly ,many prostitutes in their early teens plying their trade in the city centre while the local police turned a blind eye. Like a previous contributor,I was captivated by the song "yolanda" which I heard sung by one of the many superb bands performing in street,restaurant and bar. My best experience was the club on the top floor of the Havana Libre Hotel listening to a high energy electric Sol band ( three trombones in a five piece jazz section!). Magnificent views of the cite and at midnight the ceiling slid open revealing a beautiful starlit sky. If you go to Cuba willing to accept it and its people at face value you will love it. For the rest there is always Las Vegas.
Havana - Never again
The most depressing place I've ever been. Abject poverty and subjugation. Everything is falling apart. Kevin Gralton firstname.lastname@example.org
Good to have a look, but...
For our first trip to Cuba, I did not think of booking anything but Nacional, because of its history and reputation.Yes, the whole building is beautiful, classic ambiance. Room was a bit small but nice and retro. However, we were there duting the Carnival of Havana and surrounding was quite noisy till early morning, and what is most annoying is that, cleaning ladies are chatting in the corridor so loud, that you simply wake up.But, the concierge and the reception were both extremely nice and helpful. The exclusive restaurant had a great meal and piano music.However, for our comfort, I would not choose this hotel again.
Do not waste your time
I stayed here briefly on my way to Varedero and I thought the hotel was awful and the service was the worst I had ever had. I also ended up very sick from the food I will never return!
It was February of 1998 that I travelled to Cuba with the World's Affairs Council, and I can not wait to gat my feet back on that island! We stayed at the Hotel Nacional while in Havana and were treated to world class service and food.
Definitely worth the effort (despite being unable to call and book from outside Cuba due to limited phone lines). A monumental hotel, great sense of history, lovely view and a bit of a distance from Old Havana, but taxis only about $4. Had the most fantastic meal in the Comedor de Aguiar - great for a special occasion. The only downside is that there are so many guests wandering around that the entrance lobby feels like a mall.